Sunday, May 18, 2014

Q&A with author Diane Muldrow

Diane Muldrow's most recent book is Everything I Need to Know I Learned from a Little Golden Book. She is an editorial director at Golden Books/Random House, and the editor of the Little Golden Books. Her other books include We Planted a Tree, Where do Giggles Come From? and How Do Penguins Play? She is based in New York.

Q: How did you come up with the idea for Everything I Need to Know I Learned from a Little Golden Book, and how did you decide which illustrations to include?

A: I got the idea on the train one morning on the way to work. It seemed to come out of nowhere, and I immediately began scribbling down lines on a piece of scrap paper I found in my bag.

But ideas don't really come out of nowhere; I think having worked on the books daily for over 20 years had so much to do with it, because these wonderful images are in my head and in my daily life...I see many of them over and over in my work, and some of them never fail to make me smile each time because they are so full of joy or contentment.

Most adults don't tend to feel joy or contentment as much as they should. So each time I see the image of the Saggy Baggy Elephant squirting water on himself as he lies in the water or Tawny Scrawny Lion walking and whistling in the moonlight, I am reminded to feel content in the moment.

Two other images that came to mind right away that morning on the train were the animals exercising, and the baby looking down the bathtub drain. It might be the image of that curious baby that really started the idea; I think the words "Stay curious" just always popped into my head when I'd see that picture over the years. 

Q: As someone who works at Golden Books and edited a history of the company, what do you think jumps to readers' minds when they think about Golden Books?

A:  Oh, definitely their memories of their favorite Golden Book stories and characters, and being read to!

It seems everyone I meet has a favorite Golden Book that they remember from childhood, and I always get to hear what it is--that's always a fun moment, when I see the happy, faraway look in the person's eye! Usually it's The Poky Little Puppy or The Shy Little Kitten or Scuffy the Tugboat or The Monster at the End of This Book

Q: You've written many children's books. Do you have a preferred age group to write for? Why or why not?

A: The 2-5-year-olds are the best to write for. Everything is new to them. It's fun to show a toddler or a 4-year-old the world through my writing.  

Q: What are you working on now? 

A: I just finished Everything I Need to Know About Love I Learned from a Little Golden Book. I am taking a little break now.... 

Q: Anything else we should know?

A: Everything I Need to Know About Christmas I Learned froma Little Golden Book will be released in early September, then Love comes out in late December.  They were lots of fun to write!!!

--Interview with Deborah Kalb

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